Villa Maria College has served the Catholic community in Christchurch for over 100 years. The College was established by the Sisters of Mercy as a Catholic school for girls in 1918, and in 1981 Villa Maria became an Integrated School providing education with a Special Character. It is the vision of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, that is implemented, tested and challenged in all our education at Villa Maria. It is this Mercy character that makes Villa Maria special, and we seek to live the Gospel values and infuse a Catholic culture with our Mercy charism, throughout all aspects of College life.
The staff at Villa Maria are committed to creating life-long learners and nurture each girl and her academic needs. We are extremely proud of our academic success. NZQA data shows that Villa Maria students consistently perform well above the national average for all New Zealand schools. Striving for excellence is part of the College culture, and girls are guided and supported to set goals and achieve their potential. Our smaller class sizes are a significant advantage, and our teachers are specialists in their field and passionate about educating girls.
In an all girls’ environment, girls are taken seriously. They can work through the challenges of adolescence safely and they thrive and excel with strong female and male role models to inspire them. The family atmosphere at Villa Maria College is no accident. Students are encouraged to look after each other and give back to the life of the College. All students are placed in one of our six Houses, designed to encourage camaraderie and a sense of belonging between students across all year levels. Each House is led by a Head of House who oversees the pastoral care of the students. The entire staff work in a caring fashion to help students through their teenage years. It is this deliberate focus on the whole person that makes Villa Maria a safe and secure place of learning.
Villa Maria College has a strong reputation and therefore applications for places always exceed the number of places available. It is important that prospective students apply early.
Please note, some of the dates above may be subject to change.
The Villa Maria College Foundation Scholarship is to support a student entering at Year 9, who is at risk of not accessing a Catholic (Mercy) education. The criteria of being ‘at risk’ is where there is financial hardship, whānau/family upheaval, whānau/family illness or similar situations.
To be eligible for a VMC Foundation Scholarship you must:
1. The girl has been baptised, or is being prepared for baptism, in the Catholic Church.
2. The girl’s parents/guardians have already allowed one or more of her siblings to be baptised in the Catholic faith.
3. At least one parent/guardian is Catholic.
4. With the agreement of the child’s parent/guardian, a significant familial adult such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle who is actively involved in the child’s upbringing undertakes to support the child’s formation in the faith and practices of the Catholic Church.
5. One or both of a girl’s non-Catholic parents/guardians is preparing to become a Catholic.
Non-Preference applicants may only be enrolled if enrolment places remain after all Preference applicants have been enrolled and the College Board of Trustees is satisfied that enrolment of the non-Preference applicants will not compromise its ability to offer places to Preference applicants who may apply for enrolment at a later date. The number of places available for non-Preference applicants will be governed by the maximum number allowable from time to time under the College Integration Agreement. Priority of any such non-Preference applications will be given in accordance with the following order of priority:
If, at any level of the criteria listed above, there are more applicants than available places, priority will be given according to the date of receipt of the applicants’ enrolment forms.
If the total number of applications is greater than the number of places available in any year level, unsuccessful Applicants will have their names recorded on a waiting list. Those applicants on the waiting list may be offered places at a later date if places become available. Preference applicants shall have priority above non-Preference applicants.
If you’d like to attend Villa, make sure you have completed the online application form as soon as possible. Applications for 2023 are open and you can apply for future years at any time. It is advisable that you apply early.
You will also need to upload a copy of your birth certificate, immunisation record and preference certificate. The preference certificate is extremely important, and needs to be obtained from your Parish Priest.
We understand that starting at high school can be daunting, everything is new and there’s lots to learn. At Villa, we try to make the transition from primary to high school as easy as possible. Girls will first attend an orientation day, which allows them to get to know other new students and their teachers. We run a programme with Year 12 leaders (Peer Support) who support Year 9 girls to get to know the College and one another. The girls will get to know their Peer Support Leaders and they’ll get a tour of the whole school, so they’ll start to get to know their way around. Orientation is a fun day, aimed at reducing anxiety and helping to settle the girls in.
The next day, we hold a Mihimihi to formally welcome all the new and returning students to school. Whānau are welcome to attend.
We take the time in those early days and weeks to make sure the girls feel comfortable in their new environment and have lots of activities that allow them to get to know their peers and teachers.
The College campus can seem enormous at first! We make sure that new students have a tour of the College so that they get their bearings. There’s plenty of signage around the College with the building names so the girls will know they’re in the right place. Girls find that they are mostly moving as a class together to the same place, so it is not as scary when you are finding things together. If you do look lost, someone will always be nearby and eager to help you find your way. Many new students tell us that within the first week, they feel comfortable navigating around the College buildings.
We have a House system at Villa. Each girl is placed in one of our six Houses. The Houses are designed to encourage camaraderie and a sense of belonging across all year levels. Each House is led by a Head of House, who oversees pastoral care of each student. Within the Houses, we have small Ako Groups. These Ako Groups are made up of girls from varying year levels and they meet daily for prayer, roll check and daily notices. The Ako Groups build connections and relationships between the girls. The girls remain in the same Ako Group and House throughout their schooling at Villa. The classes at Year 9 and 10 are formed within the House, so you get to know your House group really well.
At Villa, there are lots of subject choices. There are core subjects that all students will study, and then subjects that the girls select to study. Girls are encouraged to choose a wide variety of subjects and our staff will help girls with these selections if they’re unsure. When you start in Year 7 or 9, there is not as much choice, but this increases as you progress through the school. Click here to take a look at our Curriculum.
At Villa, you can play just about any sport you like! There are 34 different sports on offer, including Netball, Hockey, Football, Cycling, Equestrian (bring your own pony!), Waterpolo and Rowing. Girls are encouraged to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle, which includes being involved in sport. It’s also a great way for girls to create new friendships. Click here to learn more about Sport at Villa.
Absolutely. There are free itinerant music lessons at the College, and we can also organise instrument hire. Girls may also like to become involved in the College music groups and choirs. Click here for more information on cultural opportunities at Villa.
Girls learn best when they feel confident and secure. Our students feel empowered to join class discussions, ask questions and be fully engaged in their learning. We encourage girls to find their strengths. And our results show this works! Our students consistently perform better than other decile 9 schools and well above the national average for NCEA. For more academic information and results, click here.
When you confirm that you will be coming to Villa, you will come into school to have an interview with one of our senior leaders. At this time, the staff would like to get to know you better and will ask you about your friends and who you know will also be coming to Villa. While we try to keep friends together, it’s also good to get to know other girls and make new friendships. We also ask your current school about you, so that hopefully we can form good supportive combinations of girls.
We have a summer and winter uniform at Villa. Both uniforms are designed to look smart and be comfortable to wear. Girls at all year levels wear the uniform, and you’ll be able to easily identify our Year 13s because they wear red ties.
We have a Uniform Shop onsite and new students are invited to make an appointment for a uniform fitting before school starts. There are also second-hand uniforms available. For more information, click here.
Villa is a state integrated secondary school. This means we receive some funding from the Ministry of Education but need to ‘top’ that up with attendance fees and contributions from families. There is a fee schedule online and many families find it is easier to set up a direct credit to the College of approximately $40 per week.
Yes! We are a BYOD (bring your own device) school, which means that all students are required to have a suitable laptop for school. The girls bring their laptops to school each day. We will ask you at your interview about any issues you might have in sourcing a suitable device. For information on devices and what’s suitable for Villa, click here.
Villa has a weekly newsletter called Villa Connect that is emailed home to all families. This newsletter contains all the information that families need to know about upcoming events and news from the College. Families are also encouraged to check the school website and download our school App for urgent notices. The Parent Portal is an online system that parents can log into to see their daughter’s school reports and other information. Families will receive usernames and passwords for the Portal once school has begun. We report regularly and run a range of opportunities to meet teachers and discuss progress, some with Ako Kaiako, others with subject teachers run with different formats. Teachers are also able to be contacted about any concerns.
There is a dedicated student sick bay at the Villa Student Office. Girls will be assessed there and may have parents / caregivers called if they need to go home.
We have girls from all over Christchurch and Selwyn at Villa. Many girls travel to and from school on public transport. Many girls also bike to school and there are plenty of bike stands available. You can find out more about bus routes at http://www.metroinfo.co.nz/
In the Intermediate classes, we usually have 25-27 girls. In the Year 9 classes, we usually have 29 students per class. We are very conscious of class sizes, so even in the Senior classes, we aim to have no more than 30 students per class.
The girls are encouraged to get fresh air and interact meaningfully with their friends. This means we require girls to hand in their mobile phones at the beginning of the day, and they can have them back as school finishes. Girls are then provided with a range of sports resources and other games and encouraged to be active and participate – and have fun!
The Intermediate students have a quad space just for themselves, so at lunch time, you will see them participating in games and activities in their quad. As a College, we encourage girls to get to know other students from all year levels, and this is why our Ako Groups are made up of girls in varying year levels. Forming friendships across different age groups has led to a friendly school environment, where all girls feel welcome, supported and safe.
Each year the Board of Trustees and the Proprietors set the fees for the following 12 months. Because Villa Maria is an integrated school, the Government only covers 60% of the College’s costs. That leaves a significant shortfall for us to meet and this is why we are so reliant on our wonderful community who faithfully pay their fees and contributions.
We are continually striving to provide the best educational facilities and opportunities for our girls within our budget. To this end, you will have seen the large capital projects taking place around the College with the new driveway and the Kia Toa building. Both projects have been planned and budgeted for many years but they will create ongoing financial commitments for the College.
While planning for our future, we are also conscious of the responsibilities we have to carefully maintain our current facilities.
We can assure you that our fees remain very comparable to other Catholic Colleges in Christchurch.
We know that Villa provides a fantastic Catholic education for your girls and that together we can achieve both educational excellence and fit-for-purpose facilities.
Some families find it useful to spread the cost over the year, by creating a weekly direct credit. We suggest crediting $40 per week into the College Account. Simply set up your AP into our bank account: Villa Maria College – ASB –12-3147-0230728-00
You can also pay directly into the above bank account or pop into the Main Office and pay by eftpos or credit card
Remember to use your eldest current student’s surname and initial as the reference when you pay online.